Why Does my Cat Chew on Cardboard Boxes?

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Cats love to chew a lot of things and cardboard seems to be their favorite. Cardboard boxes give them a cozy place to dwell and meanwhile, they just keep chewing it away. They may even then to chew on wires, leathers, carpet, and other stuff but nothing gives them the texture and tactical feel of a cardboard box. Many cat owners make a bed for their cats in a cardboard box, which is why is it common among cat owners to complain that their cats are chewing away cardboard boxes. I’ve done some research on this regard and have found out top reasons why your cat loves to chew on cardboard boxes.

Why does my cat chew on cardboard boxes? There could be many reasons, some of the most common include teething, predatory behavior, marking, and even dietary deficiency and compulsive disorder.  

Cats enjoy chewing many things such as cardboard boxes, book covers, flip flops, wooden spoons, and others. When a young cat is cutting teeth or they have a sore gum, they usually chew on stuff to ease the discomfort. Among other objects, cardboard boxes give them a tactical feel as well as something they can actually chew it into pieces.

On the other hand, many cat owners keep their cats in a cardboard box which makes it the closest thing possible to chew on. Moreover, cats love a warm and cozy environment, which is why you will find cats finding their way into cardboard boxes uninvited. Wild cats often like to chew on bones, which makes sense why cats love chewing stuff all the time. Plus, it could also be a way to clean their teeth.

Here are Some Reasons Why Cats Chew on Cardboard Boxes?

If you talk to other cat owners you would find out that cats do have an affinity for paper products. Some like to chew on diaper boxes, some on book covers, some on cardboard boxes and some on paper towels. Most cats only chew and shred the boxes and only a few are likely to eat the paper. Here could be some possible reasons for cats to have such behavior:

Predatory Behaviour

We may have learned to domesticate the cats but for a long time, their species has been living in wild. They still retain their hunting and predatory tendencies. Wild cats would typically bite their prey into pieces before eating away its meat; moreover, they get a lot of bones to crunch on. Domesticated cats, on the other hand, don’t get a chance to hunt and kill their prey so they tend to simulate this behavior by ripping and shredding cardboard boxes.


Kittens do get baby teeth like human babies and it’s common among babies to chew on teething rings to ease their teething sensation. So goes for the kitten as well. They may feel good at chewing cardboard boxes to ease this sensation. In fact, during teething, they would chew on anything they can get their hands on! This is when they may have irritated gums, and they would just rub against cardboard boxes to ease out.  

Marking their area

Like wild cats, they also tend to mark their spots using their scents. They often do it by rubbing against the object or chewing. And because most cat owners keep their pets in cardboard boxes, it would make sense why they chew on it so eagerly. Other than just marking their area they could just be nervous or bored. A spirited cat would often try to nibble on remote controls, wires, leather and cardboard boxes. It could help if you get your cat some cat toys to chew on, but it’s not certain that they will be leaving chewing cardboard boxes.

Medical problems

If cats get an urge to eat non-food items it would be considered as a medical problem called as cat pica. Here are some top reasons for cat pica:

Diet: If you find your cat is not only chewing cardboard boxes also eating some pieces, it suggests that your cat has a dietary deficiency. It could mean something is missing from your cat’s diet. This abnormality will show when they try to eat grass or leaves. If the cat has anemia it may even eat cat litter.

Illness: Cat pica could also suggest something dangerous such as feline leukemia and immunodeficiency virus. Make sure it cat doesn’t show any abnormal eating and chewing behavior.

Compulsive disorder: It could also be a result of compulsive disorder which could only be linked back to its genetics. It is more common in certain breeds than others.

Why Cats Love Cardboard Boxes?

Cats have an uncanny love for cardboard boxes and there could be many reasons for it. It is common to see in cats that they love confined areas, which is the way they instinctively go out searching for such places and boxes are the closest thing they want. You may notice that cats have a liking to hiding away in the tight spots and awkward spaces such as drawers, shelves, back of a furniture and sometimes cardboard boxes. It could be because they give them a feeling of protection against predators, which is inherent in their species.

Cats are typically spirited creatures who like roam around, jump and scratch. This could explain why they like cardboard boxes, which gives them an opportunity to jump in and out of the box, slide it around, chew on it or even take a nap in the box.

Cats love a little warmer environment than humans, which is why they look for the closed quarter for comfort and coziness. And cardboard boxes give them the perfect habitat. They feel snug and relaxed and gives them warmth. Moreover, cardboard boxes are soft and have a tactile feel, which they may chew on when they feel like.

Is Chewing Cardboard Boxes Safe for Cats?

Chewing cardboard boxes and papers are normal among cats. If they are being playful, it’s absolutely alright considering the fact that you are willing to sacrifice some paper rolls or cardboard boxes. But, it is not without troubles. Simply shredding and discarding paper is one thing and ingesting is another. Some cats may acquire this behavior which may lead to serious intestinal blockage. Furthermore, if you have a cat, don’t keep boxes with sharp utensils or boxes that had contained a toxic substance.

Chewing cardboard boxes may not pose many problems but you have to be careful of other objects, specifically power cords. A chewed out power cord is dangerous both for the cat and for the cat owner.

How to Prevent Cat from Chewing Cardboard Boxes?

  • If your cat has a compulsive chewing problem with cardboard boxes, you could do a few things to stop it from happening. You could use the measure to discourage chewing or make him chew something else in places cardboard.
  • The obvious thing you could do is keep cardboard boxes out of the reach. Stack your boxes in an unreachable shelf or out of the house. You could also prevent your cat from getting into a particular room of your house where you store all your items.
  • Spray your boxes with bad-tasting deterrents. Some common solution includes apple spray or cayenne water which leave a bad taste on the object it is sprayed on. This is certainly discouraging your cat to chew on cardboard boxes.
  • You could also create a negative response to cardboard chewing. Every time your cat gets to the cardboard boxes, spray water with a sprayer. Keep repeating this for a few days. Eventually, it will create a negative response towards chewing cardboard boxes.
  • Why let your cat chew on some cardboard boxes when you can play with her. If chewing is because of boredom then you should turn off your TV and start playing with your cat. You could entice her with other safe toys or throw a red laser on the floor and have fun.
  • Give your cat something real to chew on such as a chicken wing. Instead of giving toys and stuffed animals to play on, give some real meat to chew on. Make sure it’s uncooked so that the bone doesn’t splint.
  • Change your cat’s diet schedule. Try giving small amounts of food but frequently. Then take a brisk walk with your cat from time to time or let her roam in the lawn.
  • If it’s due to a medical condition, consult a veterinarian. It could be an abnormal chewing behavior which may need immediate medical attention.

What Else do Cats Chew?

Excessive chewing by cats is not desirable by cat owners. It could be a danger to the cat and damage to valuable objects. It could be because of medical illness or boredom or teething, cats do chew a lot of stuff. Here are some common objects that cats chew on other than cardboard boxes.

Wires: This is more dangerous than being cute. Cats may try to chew on plugged-in power cords, which they could do in your absence. It may lead to an exposed conductor which may either shock you, your family members or the cat. To prevent this, try keeping your cat busy with a lot of chew on toys. It is much safer for the cat to chew on boxes than wires and cords. Don’t forget to plug-out all electronic appliance before leaving home make them inaccessible to your cat. You could also try cover the cord with thick tubing or spray bad-tasting solution.

Plants: Cats may occasionally chew on houseplants. Which makes you responsible for discarding any thorny or toxic plants around your house. Then to discourage them spray some apple spray which tastes bad to the cats.

Fabric: Chewing wool is common among most cats. Sometimes cats chew on apparels, shoes, leather products and even a ball of wool if you give one. To discourage this behavior give you cats chewable soft toys or something like wool mice. Here, you can’t spray your shirts with cat deterrent spray; the best way would be to make it inaccessible in the first place.


Cats chewing on cardboard boxes are often considered cute by cat owners. They don’t necessarily want to prevent them from doing it, they just want to be sure that it’s safe. Cats can chew a lot of stuff if, given the chance wooden boards, shoes, vase, you name it! By now you should be well informed that chewing cardboard boxes is common among many cat owners and it’s not a bad thing unless either your cat gets hurt or you lose some valuable object.

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